Simmons Receives NSF CAREER Award

Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., an Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment (ESSIE) civil engineering associate professor, has received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award to support her research in “Co-Curricular Participation of Students Underrepresented in Engineering.”

This prestigious CAREER Award is the highest award bestowed from the National Science Foundation to new faculty to produce continuous contributions to education and research.

“This project developed, tested, and distributed a new survey instrument to collect, analyze and disseminate quantitative and qualitative data on out-of-class involvement, affective engagement and learning outcomes that can be leveraged to guide institutional policies and programs and to design effective innovations to promote diversity, enhance persistence, and increase professional skills of engineering students that progress into the workforce​,” Dr. Simmons said.

The two-year grant will support her research at the intersection of workforce development in construction engineering & management and engineering education​. The project aims to investigate underrepresented students in engineering participation in out-of-class activities and design effective innovations to retain and prepare those students for practice.

“This award further validates Dr. Simmons renowned expertise and vision for the future of workforce development. Her groundbreaking new techniques in and out of the classroom are setting a national tone for how we adapt our professional preparation for the next generation of leaders,” said Kirk Hatfield, director of ESSIE. “Her particular emphasis on underrepresented groups is a catalyst to advance the diversity conversation to much needed real implementation.”

Information obtained could be used in national professional organizations and institutional programs to increase and enhance minority student involvement in co-curricular activities.

More on Simmons’ 2018 CAREER Award.